(IGP) GS Paper 1 – India & World Geography – “Nuclear Energy”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS

Subject – India & World Geography
Chapter :Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy In India


  • Nuclear energy contributes about 4.1% of power generation in India. The
    share of nuclear energy is expected to reach 9% by 2035.
  • Currently, there are 6 nuclear power plants generating about 4120 MW
    Power Station.
  • The largest nuclear power station in India is located in Tarapur,
    Maharastra. The largest research reactor is the Dhruva at the Babha Atomic
    Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai.
  • Currently India uses two types of reactors for power production:
    Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), Boiling Water Reactor (BWR).
    Additionally the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor is under experiments at the
    Madras Kalpakkam.
  • The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) is the sole company
    authorised to set up nuclear power plants in India.

Availability of Nuclear Materials

  • Australia has the largest reserves of Uranium in the world. Canada,
    which has the second largest reserves, is the largest exporter of Uranium.
  • India has limited availability of Uranium reserves in the country (about
    1% of world availability).
  • The primary source of Uranium in India are the Jaduguda mines in
    Jharkhand. Uranium is extracted in the form of “Yellow Cake”.
  • However, Thorium is widely available in the world. Worldwide, Thorium is
    about three times as abundant Uanium.
  • India has about 25% of the world’s reserves of Thorium.
  • In India, Throium is commonly found in the form of the mineral Monazite
    in the beach sands of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • The waiver of restrictions on nuclear fuel supply by the Nuclear
    Suppliers Group in Sep 2008 has increased India’s opportunities for
    importing nuclear fuel (esp. Uranium).
  • India now has nuclear supply agreements with France (Sep 2008), the US
    (Sep 2008), the EU Nov 2009), Canada (Nov 2009) and Russia (Dec 2009).

Governmental Bodies In Nuclear Energy

Department of Atomic Energy

  • The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) functions directly
    under the Prime Minister. The Department was established in 1958.

  • The DAE is responsible for all nuclear technology in
    India, including nuclear power and nuclear research.

  • The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) function under the DAE.
    The Commission was established in 1948, but moved to the Dept. of Atomic
    Energy in 1958.

Heavy Water Board

  • Established 1969, headquarters Mumbai

  • Responsible for production of heavy water (D2O)

  • Operates six heavy water plants in the country:
    Kota (Rajasthan)
    Baroda (Gujarat)
    Hazira (Gujarat)
    Thal (Maharashtra)
    Talcher (Orissa)
    Munuguru (Andhra Pradesh)
    Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu)

  • India is the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy water.

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Nuclear Fuel Complex

  • Established 1971, location Hyderabad.

  • Responsible for enrichment and supply of nuclear fuel for
    all nuclear power plants in the country.

  • Also responsible for manufacturer of reactor core

  • The NFC processes both Uranium concentrates (for nuclear
    fuel) and Zirconium (for reactor components).

Uranium Corporation of India Ltd.

  • Established 1967, headquarters Singhbhum (Jharkhand)

  • Responsbile for extraction and processing of uranium

  • It primary responsibility is the extraction of Thorium
    (in the form of monazite) for use in nuclear industry.

  • All five uranium mines are located in Singhbum district
    of Jharkhand
    Jaduguda mine – oldest mine, commissioned 1967
    Bhatin mine
    Narwapahar mine -0 latest mine, commissioned 1995
    Turamdih mine
    Banduhurang mine – only open pit uranium min

  • India produces about 300 tonnes a year of uranium

Indian Rare Earths Ltd.

  • Established 1950, headquarters Mumbai
  • Responsible for extraction of minerals from beach sands
  • It primary responsibility is the extraction of Thorium (in the form of
    monazite) for use in nuclear industry.
  • Operates four mineral extraction units
    Aluva (Kerala)
    Chavara (Kerala)
    Manavalakurichi (Tamil Nadu)
    Chatrapur Orissa)

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

  • Established as the Atomic Energy Establishment Trombay in 1957. Located
    in Mumbai
  • It is India’s first and primary nuclear research facility
  • Site of CIRUS reactor (Canada-India-US Research)
  • Developed Dhruva reactor (1958) – largest research reactor in the

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